Holiday hiatus

Hi everyone. There was a problem with my last entry during the upload, and the entire posting was lost. Due to the stresses of the holiday season I’ve been deeply distracted and unable to find the time to post, but I should be back to it at my usual pace starting January. If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact me via email, twitter, or thru the blog, and I will answer usually within 24 hours.

Hope your holiday season has been peaceful.

Scott

The Cooper Institute

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - SEPTEMBER 30:  Afghan Nat...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The Cooper Institute has been a leading health and fitness provider for as long as that category has existed.  It was founded in 1970, by Kenneth Cooper, MD, who was an Air Force Doctor when he started researching the role of exercise on general health.  He published the results of his research in 1968; titled simply Aerobics, which is the first time that word had ever been used!  He literally is called the “Father of Aerobics”, and the organization he founded continues to do much of the cutting edge research being conducted in the fields of exercise science (including resistance training), nutrition, and health.  The website offers a plethora of information and tools freely available, including calculators for how many calories you actually eat, burn, proper portion sizes, and determining your optimal weight.

Check this site out HERE if you are even remotely interested in learning more about fitness.

English: KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea— Airmen ...
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Sugar, Protein, and Us

Sugar
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Nutritionists have had a model for how refined sugars and simple carbs negatively impact the human body.  In a nutshell, it works like this:

I eat or drink a high sugar food product (candy, soda, pasta, breads; your body thinks they’re all the same).  These things are already in their most broken down state and are ready for immediate absorption.  Body releases a lot of insulin, which sucks up the sugar and causes blood sugar to temporarily soar (momentarily boosting energy)  then catastrophically crash since it just as easily gets stored (as fat) if you don’t use it right away.

English: Diagram shows insulin release from th...
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When the burst of energy ends, your brain wants to get the energy back and tells you your hungry, again.  This model still works, but it’s an incomplete picture, and the truth appears to be even more insidious.

Our friend Thane shared this link which details the neurobiological mechanisms that underly the classic model I sketched above.  It sheds light on why it’s so hard to break this cycle, and tells us how to more effectively deal with the problem.  What I find most amusing is the fact that old medical advice from the 50’s and 60’s, on how to manage blood sugar levels using a chart called the glycemic index, came to these same conclusions long ago.

The article is still fascinating if your into science and health and fitness, so check it out here.

Seasonal Challenge!

Aerobic In The City
Image by MR MARK BEK via Flickr

It’s easy to get complacent going into the holiday season. Distractions, food, family, friends, and parties all conspire to encourage us to put off making real fitness gains until the new year.

My challenge is this: let’s use the next 6 weeks to get into the best shape of our lives. Here’s my advice. First, if you need to lose weight, don’t focus on denial. Focus on content. Whatever you eat, enjoy. But only eat half of every meal. Only eat half of every desert. Only eat half of every snack. It’s not hard, at least it’s not if you believe you’re worth the effort it takes to pay attention to yourself.

Then follow these instructions regarding working out:

Identify your type:

US Navy 021101-N-5152P-003 Sailor trains aboar...
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Are you an aeroboholic; someone who loves cardio to the virtual exclusion of other activities, even though you know you need weights too?

Are you an aerobophobic; someone who avoids cardiovascular exercise like the plague?

Now that you’ve identified your exercise personality type do this. Commit to 4 days a week minimum.

If you are a aeroboholic by nature, switch to 3 weight training workouts (not classes) and only do 1 cardio workout. If you can make it in more often, add 1 cardio, then 1 weight lifting. When you do your cardio, increase the intensity of your speed, elevation, and resistance, even if it decreases your duration a bit (keep 30 minutes as a bare minimum, however). When doing weight lifting, add an additional set to every exercise, and make that last set much more difficult than you are used too.

If you are a self identified aerobophobic you will, for the next 6 weeks, divide your workouts 50/50. Pick one aerobic activity that you dislike least (class or machine) and really push yourself hard. Continue to lift weights as normal twice/week. If you can add additional days, only add cardiovascular work, but don’t be afraid to do intense intervals. Sprinting can and will develop muscle.

In 6 weeks, both types will see dramatic improvement in terms of appearance and performance, when you eventually return to your normal routines.